Posts Tagged ‘horror’

The Network People
by Bob Freville
Psychedelic Horror Press

I recently had the chance to read  digital ARC of this book. My review follows, but the book could be triggering as it does depict child abuse.

Bob Freville’s writing hits like a baseball bat to the back of the skull… in the best possible sense. THE NETWORK PEOPLE collects three separate stories, all separate and disconnected but for the common thread of holding a mirror up to the worst of human behavior. The writing is sharp and powerful and pulls no proverbial punches. At times it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion… beauty in the wreckage.

WE BUY SOULS

What do you do when everything around you is fake, when everything is a simulation of the real world around you and everything is plastic? What do you do when you are fresh out of jail and feeling more exposed than your first night behind bars? Who’s going to want to hire a felon anyway? Less a story and more a reflection on how cheap modern life can be, and the dangers of walking into a store with a sign that says “Hiring?”

THE NETWORK PEOPLE

“First they taunt you, then they haunt you.” A fortyish actor travels to LaLa Land, pursuing his dreams of making it to the big time. But he doesn’t count on the swift erosion of his soul at the hands of the titular Network People. Part cult, part conspiracy and utterly inhuman and uncaring, the Network chews up the young and spits out the old in a mechanical basis. As the poor actor finds out, it doesn’t take much for it to get its hooks into you, and you’ll end up pulling yourself a part trying to get free. The only other thing I’ll say is the human sacrifice bit doesn’t even top the most disturbing part of this particular story.

SEX TOY

A Clive Barker-esque body horror bad trip in the spirit of THE BOOKS OF BLOOD. When a suburban couple has done everything that they can with each other, what do they do when ennui sets in? What other sensations can they pursue together, and what happens when one of them decides to continue on a journey of sexual exploration without the other? It would be too easy to dismiss this as lurid horror, but buried beneath the grotesque is a moral about communication in relationships, and maybe coming to terms that you can never truly know what another person finds attractive.

THE NETWORK PEOPLE is currently available for preorder directly from Psychedelic Horror Press.

Demonslayer (Book 2 of The Psychonaut Trilogy)
by Tom G. H. Adams
Writing in Starlight Publications

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hadn’t been waiting for this book for a while. I originally reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Psychonaut, back in 2016, and to say that this is a strong follow-up is an understatement. I’ll also come out and say that yes, you really do need to read the first book in the series to make heads or tales of what is going on in this book.Demonslayer: Book 2 in The Psychonaut Trilogy by [Adams, Tom G.H.]

It picks up where the last book left off. Merrick Whyte, former corporate negotiator, has come into his own power as a Psychonaut, one that can traverse different realms and can use the power of his mind to well… kill people. A new threat is on the horizon, however, as a demon threatens to Uncreate everything. Meanwhile, there is an anti-occult group with designs on Merrick and his friends, and there is a police officer who has decided that Merrick must die, damn the collateral damage.

What follows is an intricate story that weaves between the colliding plots and subplots. Demigods, fanatics, and the end of the world (isn’t it always?) combine to make a truly thrilling tale that will keep readers on edge. And yes, having some knowledge of Thelema and Aleister Crowley does help with a deeper appreciation of the story.

The biggest downside for me is I really wished Adams had developed some of the secondary characters a bit more. Also, there are some momentous events that occur that get little more than a summation by the characters. Obviously, there are always choices to be made in writing, but I for one hope to see more of Adams’ cast of characters rounded out.

As always, Adams does not shy away from the grotesque, but DEMONSLAYER wasn’t nearly as graphic as THE PSYCHONAUT, but his villains still manage to feel threatening.

Highly recommended if you enjoy thrillers and urban fantasy that weighs heavy on the occult.

DEMONSLAYER is available on amazon.

Death Pacts and Left-Hand Paths
by John Wayne Comunale
Grindhouse Press

You know, I didn’t make any New Years’ resolutions this year, in the main because they have a way of petering out around the middle of February. But one goal I am setting for myself is to read more indie press work. And hey, you know what an advantage is to running your own indie mag? Getting exposed to a bunch of new writers that would otherwise fly under the radar.

One such writer is John Wayne Comunale[1], a Texas based three-way threat who performs with the horrorpunk outfit johnwayneisdead. I decided to see if his long form fic could hold up to the promise of his short fic, and he didn’t fail to deliver.

DEATH PACTS AND LEFT-HAND PATHS follows the travails of a small-time loser, stuck in a dead end job and lusting fruitlessly after a co-worker. His solution? Rather than looking to better himself, he decides to take the short cut of summoning an otherworldly entity, a foulmouthed, chain smoking perverse imp. And yeah, the imp can help… but there’s always a catch. And someone’s going to have to pay it.

What follows is ramping up of death and disaster as our helpless anti-hero ends up more and more beholden in his pact. But the imp isn’t the only otherworldly creature out there, and our protag’s imp has to answer to a master of his own. The only question then is when you fall is how far down is it going to take you?

Comunale doesn’t shy away from the gore, and there’s no way I’d recommend eating this before, after, or even thinking about lunch. There’s not much redeemable about our hero other than to see a reflection of how your own mistakes can snowball into tragedy. You also might look askance at taking public transit… or at least you might end up looking over your shoulder more often.

Do I recommend this book?

Whole heartedly. So, show Comunale some love and pick up this novel, and while you are at it, check out what else he’s got cooking. You can also follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/johnwayneisdead.

 

[1] His short story “Compartments” appeared in issue 3 of Broadswords and Blasters.

This week’s challenge was either:

  1. The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
  2. Doing a good thing sometimes means being evil.

I went with a bit of both, really. Also, sees me going back to the Nightshades well.

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Coffin Dodgers: A Sci Fi Horror Book by [Adams, Tom G.H. ]

What would happen if THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME was set in the future, on an alien planet? What if instead of one person set loose in the wilderness, it was a team of competing extreme athletes?

That’s the simple premise behind the latest from Tom G.H. Adams, the aptly named COFFIN DODGERS. A group of extreme athletes and thrillseekers, here designated T-types, are sent to a newly discovered world, there to compete for a fat cash prize.

Soon, however, they discover that they are competing for more than money as they are being hunted and killed in a sadistic hunt. As I’ve come to expect from Tom, he leans way in on the horror, sometimes seeming to bring the gore for gore’s sake, but never ignoring the impact it has on his characters. While I do feel the motivation for his villain(s) is a bit over the top, I can appreciate how he worked the interplay of sex and violence into his text. He does an excellent job of getting into some of the characters heads, and I will say for villain of the piece, that was an insight I did not rightly relish.

Tom does an excellent job of setting up the tension between the hunters and the prey, and while there are elements of the chase I wish he would have explored more (how were the hunters tracking the other contestants? why didn’t the contestants realize something was fishy about the “contest” sooner?)

The novella did fall a little short for me in places. Given how it is set in the future, I would have appreciated a more diverse group of characters. All of them come from Earth, with no real delving into how a Mars colonist might compete. Some ethnic stereotypes are given broad strokes as well (the Australian pilot being the most glaring example). The planet as well, while interesting, relied heavily on it being an Earth analogue, albeit one still going through its own prehistoric development… complete with creatures that looked an awful like what you might find in Jurassic Park. I would have appreciated creatures perhaps a bit more alien, or at least flora that was less benign than what our contestants encountered here.

Overall, for a quick read, it is very enjoyable. 3 and a half stars.

You can pick up your own copy here on Amazon, and you can check out Tom’s website here.The book is releasing Feb 2nd.

So this is part three to a scary story and where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

Part I is here: http://jemimapett.com/blog/2016/10/07/fridayflash-fiction-spooky-tales-1-black-dog/

Part II is there: https://kim153.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/scary-story-part-two-of-jemima-petts-story-black-dog/

Many thanks to Jemima Pett and Kim Blades for the setup.

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This is my continuation to a chain story (and this week’s Chuck Wendig Challenge). And yes, I don’t write much horror, can’t you tell?

Here’s where you can find part I:  https://cheesywriterblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/stranger-at-the-table/

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This week’s challenge. I’m going to admit I cheated a bit and wrote a story I could then fit into the blender, because the first story I wrote went way over the limit. By more than 3,000 words. It’s possible it’ll see daylight at some point, but I’ve decided to hold on to it for the moment, see if I can get feedback on it and get it out somewhere published. Oh, and it was Gothic Sword&Sorcery tale.

So you  get this instead. Which I’m calling Weird West Shapeshifter. With some body horror and Creature Feature thrown in. Very B-movie, I know. As always, your likes and comments are appreciated and valued.

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The Psychonaut (Book One of the Psychonaut Trilogy)
by Tom Adams
Writing in Starlight

Occult societies. Global conspiracies. Multiple worlds.

Yeah, I’d say this book is right in my sweet spot.

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This week’s challenge– pick one of ten predetermined titles and write a story with it. Target goal was about 2000 words. I ended up with a bit over 1700.

I’ve used Carlisle before, and he’s a character I’m playing with a bit, getting the feel for him and what he’s about, so I’m grateful for the chance to take him out for a spin again.

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